Effect of calcium carbonate saturation state on the calcification rate of an experimental coral reef

Chris Langdon, Taro Takahashi, Colm Sweeney, Dave Chipman, John Goddard, Francesca Marubini, Heather Aceves, Heidi Barnett, Marlin J. Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

410 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is projected to reach twice the preindustrial level by the middle of the 21st century. This increase will reduce the concentration of CO32- of the surface ocean by 30% relative to the preindustrial level and will reduce the calcium carbonate saturation state of the surface ocean by an equal percentage. Using the large 2650 m3 coral reef mesocosm at the BIOSPHERE-2 facility near Tucson, Arizona, we investigated the effect of the projected changes in seawater carbonate chemistry on the calcification of coral reef organisms at the community scale. Our experimental design was to obtain a long (3.8 years) time series of the net calcification of the complete system and all relevant physical and chemical variables (temperature, salinity, light, nutrients, Ca2+, pCO2, TCO2, and total alkalinity). Periodic additions of NaHCO3, Na2CO3, and/or CaCl2 were made to change the calcium carbonate saturation state of the water. We found that there were consistent and reproducible changes in the rate of calcification in response to our manipulations of the saturation state. We show that the net community calcification rate responds to manipulations in the concentrations of both Ca2+ and CO32- and that the rate is well described as a linear function of the ion concentration product, [Ca2+]0.69[CO32-]. This suggests that saturation state or a closely related quantity is a primary environmental factor that influences calcification on coral reefs at the ecosystem level. We compare the sensitivity of calcification to short-term (days) and long-term (months to years) changes in saturation state and found that the response was not significantly different. This indicates that coral reef organisms do not seem to be able to acclimate to changing saturation state. The predicted decrease in coral reef calcification between the years 1880 and 2065 A.D. based on our long-term results is 40%. Previous small-scale, short-term organismal studies predicted a calcification reduction of 14-30%. This much longer, community-scale study suggests that the impact on coral reefs may be greater than previously suspected. In the next century coral reefs will be less able to cope with rising sea level and other anthropogenic stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-654
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Volume14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 18 2000
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Reefs
Calcium Carbonate
calcification
calcium carbonate
coral reef
saturation
sea surface
Carbonates
Sea level
Alkalinity
effect
rate
Seawater
mesocosm
twenty first century
Design of experiments
Ecosystems
Nutrients
Time series
experimental design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Langdon, C., Takahashi, T., Sweeney, C., Chipman, D., Goddard, J., Marubini, F., ... Atkinson, M. J. (2000). Effect of calcium carbonate saturation state on the calcification rate of an experimental coral reef. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 14(2), 639-654.

Effect of calcium carbonate saturation state on the calcification rate of an experimental coral reef. / Langdon, Chris; Takahashi, Taro; Sweeney, Colm; Chipman, Dave; Goddard, John; Marubini, Francesca; Aceves, Heather; Barnett, Heidi; Atkinson, Marlin J.

In: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol. 14, No. 2, 18.11.2000, p. 639-654.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Langdon, C, Takahashi, T, Sweeney, C, Chipman, D, Goddard, J, Marubini, F, Aceves, H, Barnett, H & Atkinson, MJ 2000, 'Effect of calcium carbonate saturation state on the calcification rate of an experimental coral reef', Global Biogeochemical Cycles, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 639-654.
Langdon C, Takahashi T, Sweeney C, Chipman D, Goddard J, Marubini F et al. Effect of calcium carbonate saturation state on the calcification rate of an experimental coral reef. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 2000 Nov 18;14(2):639-654.
Langdon, Chris ; Takahashi, Taro ; Sweeney, Colm ; Chipman, Dave ; Goddard, John ; Marubini, Francesca ; Aceves, Heather ; Barnett, Heidi ; Atkinson, Marlin J. / Effect of calcium carbonate saturation state on the calcification rate of an experimental coral reef. In: Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 2000 ; Vol. 14, No. 2. pp. 639-654.
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